Homocysteine as a Risk Factor in Cardiovascular Disease
Homocysteine is a naturally occurring, sulphur amino acid of established clinical relevance. Excess homocysteine excretion is characteristic of patients with the rare inborn error of metabolism -- homocystinuria -- a connective tissue disorder with spontaneous, early dislocation of the ocular lens, marfanoid habitus, and mental retardation. Homocystinuria is also characterized by early death due to vaso-occlusive disease, and is accompanied by hemostatic changes consistent with a thrombophilic state. Increased plasma homocysteine is associated with histopathologic evidence of vascular endothelial injury, vascular smooth muscle proliferation, and progressive arterial stenosis. After its identification, homocystinuria was studied by investigators hypothesizing that a milder disturbance of homocysteine metabolism might be a significant factor in common cardiovascular conditions and coagulopathies. It is only recently that strong evidence for this hypothesis has emerged. [8;11]
KeywordsHomocysteine Level Neural Tube Defect Plasma Homocysteine Folate Supplementation Total Homocysteine
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